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Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously (Mass Market Paperback)


Review"A feast, a voyage, and a marvel." (Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love )

"Laugh-out-loud funny." (Boston Globe )

"Powell writes like a culinary Chris Rock - profane, honest, and very funny." (Seattle Times )

"A really good book." (Washington Post Book World )

Product Description
Julie & Julia, the bestselling memoir that's "irresistible....A kind of Bridget Jones meets The French Chef" (Philadelphia Inquirer), is now a major motion picture. Julie Powell, nearing thirty and trapped in a dead-end secretarial job, resolves to reclaim her life by cooking in the span of a single year, every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's legendary Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her unexpected reward: not just a newfound respect for calves' livers and aspic, but a new life-lived with gusto. The film is written and directed by Nora Ephron and stars Amy Adams as Julie and Meryl Streep as Julia.

I really enjoyed Julie & Julia., March 31, 2007
By C. Gilbert "frumiousb" (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)


A friend of mine lent me Julie & Julia at a point when I needed something to cheer me up. I have to admit that few things make me more suspicious than a book that derived from a blog. I also have a pretty low tolerance for chick lit in general, and this smelled like chick lit to me.

But anyhow. Despite going into the book with poor expectations, I was pleasantly surprised. I found it well-written and it felt honest. It had several laugh-out-loud moments. Best of all, I found myself genuinely liking the narrator/author. It was good fun. And that was exactly what I wanted it to be.

Although you can get some foodie kicks from Julie & Julia, it is not really about food. Do not read the book if you are looking for technical details, deep reflection about Julia Childs and French cooking, or kitchen tips and tricks. It is not that kind of book. Think light read with cooking as a kind of character quest.

One quarrel-- in her author's note Powell declares that "sometimes she just makes stuff up". That made me less comfortable with the book, honestly. As a memoir it has a lot of charm. As a novel, it has much less interest. I am not sure why that should be the case, but it took a little bit of the shine off for me to see that note at the beginning.

Anyhow. If, like me, you are looking for some cheering up then this could be a book for you. Bonus points if you find yourself an urbanite with a foodie-wannabee cooking habit, because then the funny parts are going to be even funnier. I had to wince when remembering some of my own attempts at homemade mayonnaise. Recommended.

Powell's Souffle Falls Flat, June 23, 2009
By Lindsay Johnson (Chicago, IL USA)


Many a blog turned book falls into the "nothing new" trap; what we get on paper is just a reproduction of what we got on the screen. In her attempt to escape this pitfall, Julie Powell goes to the opposite extreme and tries to do way too much. The premise lured me in: approaching 30 and flitting from one temp job to the next, Powell attempts to do the improbable, tackle all of the 524 recipes found in the first volume of Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in one calendar year. What could have been an interesting story of using a culinary challenge to provide structure and direction to an otherwise chaotic New York lifestyle turns into a book with an identity crisis. Part memoir about family and friends and life in New York, part story of getting closer to Julia Child through her iconic cookbook, part recounting the blogging experience near the time of its inception, part fictional re-imagining of the relationship between Paul and Julia Child - the book felt like a shouting match between styles and genres each fighting fiercely for attention.

Was the book diverting? Yes, and sometimes it was hilarious. However, there are a number of books out there that successfully do what Powell is attempting here. If you have your heart set on reading this book, go for it. However, I would also like to offer the following recommendations depending on what drove you to look at this book up in the first place:

If you are interested in Julia Child and how she (and others) have influenced American cuisine, I suggest "The United States of Arugula."

If you are looking for a food memoir, someone learning about cuisine to better understand themselves and a culture, try "Serve the People: a Stir Fried Journey Through China."

If New York is the draw, "Garlic and Sapphires" is written by the former restaurant critic of The New York Times and includes stories of restaurants (with reviews), home cooking, and some tempting recipes.

If you are looking for great, laugh out loud memoir that actually pulls off the blog-to-book transition, but does not have much to do with food, pick up "Bitter is the New Black."

There has been a huge surge in the publication of food-related books over the past few years and many of them are excellent, but "Julie and Julia" is just not one of them.

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